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Share the gift of life - Apr 30, 2008 (ST)

BackApr 30, 2008

The Straits Times / The Business Times News On SPH

Share the gift of life

If you?ve always wanted to donate blood, here?s your chance. SPH Red Apple Day on May 15 is open to the public.

By Lisabel Ting
Apr 30, 2008
The Straits Times

Only 1.6 per cent of Singapore's population are regular blood donors. In order to be self-sufficient in donor blood, the country needs to double that figure to 3 per cent.

On average, Singapore needs 300-350 units of blood a day, as an operation like a liver transplant could easily consume up to 10 units.

The Bloodbank@HSA also has a critical level of 900 units to maintain, "although we usually start to panic when the stock reaches 1,000 units," said Ms Cecilia Tan, director of the Blood Donor Recruitment Programme run by the Singapore Red Cross Society. The ideal level is six days' supply, or about 1,800 units.

A unit of blood is 450ml, or what a single donor weighing more than 50kg can give at one sitting. A donor weighing less than 50kg would be able to give only 300ml.

The Bloodbank@HSA usually obtains 60 per cent of its total blood supply, or about 100-200 units daily, from walk-in donations at the Health Sciences Authority building which is opposite Outram MRT station.

The other 40 per cent is garnered by bloodmobiles or travelling donation points. The bloodmobile schedule can be viewed online at http://www.donorweb.org/bloodmobiles. While many Singaporeans are willing to donate blood for the first time, Ms Tan said that it is difficult to encourage repeat donations.

Also, there are people who are afraid of the pain from the donation process, or mistakenly fear that they may contract an infectious disease from the needles used.

Singapore Press Holdings has a blood donation drive every year to add to the Bloodbank's reserves. And it's not just for staff.

Join us at the Singapore Press Holdings Red Apple Day at the News Centre Auditorium on May 15 from noon to 5pm.

To donate blood, you must:

  • Be 16-60 years old (16 and 17-yearolds require a parental consent form)
  • Weigh more than 45kg
  • Have had no illnesses in the past three weeks
  • Have a haemoglobin level of at least 12.5g/dl (you will be tested on the day itself)